The Playboy centerfold lives on outside the US

Mexicans still want their porn on print.
Mexicans still want their porn on print.
Image: Reuters/Carlos Jasso
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When Playboy announced its US edition was scrapping nudity on Oct. 13, the magazine’s Mexican fans went into a panic.

“Some were worried, some outraged, some surprised,” Arturo Flores, the editor at Playboy’s Mexican edition, told Quartz.

So after fielding questions from many readers, Playboy México put up a note on its website on Oct. 15 reassuring them that naked women will still be featured on its print edition. Playboy Argentina had posted a similar note on its Facebook page a couple of days earlier.

Playboy magazine has 23 international editions licensed by the Beverly Hills, California-based Playboy Enterprises. A company spokeswoman told Quartz that it expects that some of them will follow the lead of the magazine’s flagship edition in the US, while others will continue to publish nudity.

Although they are subject to certain principles set by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, local editions are allowed to adapt their content to their markets. And in Mexico, nudity still sells print magazines, says Flores.

It’s not that Mexicans don’t like online porn, which according to Playboy’s chief executive has rendered the print version “passé” (paywall). Indeed,, which claims to be the world’s largest porn site, found that its Mexican clientele was the eighth most likely to be browsing its site at any given time, in a 2014 analysis of its traffic.

But generally, fewer people in Mexico go to the web for online porn—and everything else—than in the US. For every 100 people in Mexico, fewer than 45 use the internet, according to World Bank data. The number of internet users per 100 people in the US is more than 87.

“As a society we still are not making full use of all the technology tools available—things as superfluous as preferring to stand in line at a bank instead of going to the cash machine,” said Flores.

Magazines in Mexico are also doing far better than their counterparts around the world. Print is still growing there, thanks to an expanding middle class interested in leafing through lifestyle and luxury-goods magazines, according to an analysis by PwC. The professional services firm is expecting consumer magazine revenue in Mexico to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 3.8% between 2015 and 2019. Globally, it’s forecasting a rate of 0.2% for the same period as print ad revenue and circulation decline.